Representing Victims of Human Sex Trafficking in New York

A child's eye looking through gaps in a wooden fence

Human trafficking is often dismissed as something that happens overseas, but it has become an epidemic in America, too. At Douglas & London, our mission is to empower trafficking survivors and make sure your voice is heard. We can go after the businesses that allowed you to be exploited and fight to get the financial recovery you need to begin rebuilding your life. If you or someone you love has been victimized by sex trafficking, we invite you to call Douglas & London to see how we can help you achieve justice. All consultations are completely confidential and free of charge.

While young girls and women account for the majority of sex trafficking victims, people of all ages and genders are coerced into forced labor, prostitution, and commercial sex work. More than 50 percent of human sex trafficking cases in the U.S. involve minors who are usually lured by offers of safe shelter, food, clothing, education, or financial stability.

New York City remains a gateway destination for trafficking women in the sex trade. Statistics indicate that every borough of NYC has women who are being forced into sex work, under threats of physical violence, deportation, harm to family members, and other harsh repercussions.

Sex trafficking survivors have the right to seek compensation from those who benefited financially from their exploitation. Defendants can be any party that was complicit in the crime, including individual traffickers, pimps and handlers, websites that allowed these activities to be promoted, and commercial institutions that profited while turning a blind eye. A human trafficking lawyer can help to identify all responsible parties in your case and hold them accountable.

What Is Sex Trafficking?

There are multiple types of sex trafficking, from escort services, residential or outdoor solicitation to combinations of sex and labor trafficking, which include illicit massage businesses, bars, strip clubs, and other illicit activities. 

Victims of sex trafficking also appear to be from all different races and socio-economic backgrounds, including girls/women from middle class or wealthier households.

Who Is at Risk for Human Trafficking in NYC?

Human trafficking is a modern form of enslavement, and more than 400,000 victims are being trafficked in the country every year.

Traffickers tend to target the most vulnerable populations – people in desperate situations who are lured with false and misleading promises. According to national data, the following groups are most at risk for human trafficking:

  • Minors in foster care or the juvenile justice systems
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Those with substance abuse problems
  • Undocumented immigrants and foreign nationals
  • People with cognitive disabilities
  • Impoverished individuals
  • LGBTQ youth estranged from their families
  • Those with low literacy rates and limited English

Continuing homelessness and lack of safe housing increase susceptibility to the recruitment efforts of human sex traffickers.

How Do Traffickers Control Their Victims?

Traffickers develop control over their victims through a combination of contrived affection, isolation, violence, psychological manipulation, and emotional abuse. Victims may feel trapped, dominated, and unable to leave because their handler or trafficker:

  • Confiscates their earnings
  • Takes legal documents away
  • Confines and isolates them
  • Threatens to report them to Immigration
  • Provides illicit drugs and alcohol to make them more compliant
  • Sexual and physically abuses them
  • Threatens to harm their family members

Where Does Human Sex Trafficking Occur?

Common venues for acts of human trafficking are commercially operated truck stops and hotel/motels due to their remote locations and discretion. Although these businesses do not directly engage in human trafficking, they may knowingly participate in it by fostering complicit environments which encourage these types of crimes. 

Sex trafficking also occurs in strip clubs, escort services, the streets, massage parlors, residential brothels, and online, where handlers are able to advertise commercial sex services on forums and websites with some degree of anonymity.

Many sex trafficking operations in New York use legitimate businesses as a front for their activities. If you suspect that human trafficking is occurring in your community, we encourage you to contact the non-profit Polaris Project, which connects human trafficking victims to support and resources.

Why Are Sex Trafficking Lawsuits Brought Against the Hospitality Industry and Truck Stops?

Hotels, motels, casinos, airlines, and truck stops are fully aware of what to look for thanks to the Blue CampaignTruckers Against TraffickingPolaris, and countless other organizations and awareness groups specifically focusing on human trafficking.

As businesses open to the public, commercially-operated truck stops and hotels/motels are obligated to invest financial resources to ensure a safe environment for patrons and customers. An effort should be made to install video surveillance equipment, install proper lighting, hire security personnel, and install postage/signage in areas on its property where acts of human trafficking are or might be occurring.

By failing to do so and failing to train its employees to identify acts of human trafficking, commercially-operated truck stops and hotels/motels financially benefit through increased sales and lower operating costs at its locations. 

Additionally, such inactions create an atmosphere enticing to human traffickers and individuals who seek to exploit victims for sex and/or labor, resulting in said increased sales and profits at their locations. 

Human Trafficking Lawyer in NYC

Businesses that looked the other way while sex trafficking went on under their roofs can be held legally liable for their negligence, and the women and men who were trafficked as a result of this negligence can sue these companies for money damages.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sex trafficking, we invite you to reach out to an NYC human trafficking lawyer at Douglas & London for a free and fully confidential consultation. We will listen to your story, explore your legal options, and tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your case. Call, chat, or use our online form to see how a New York City personal injury lawyer can help.